Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all. – N.W. Morris
Most of us rarely listen to our bodies. Yet it is one of the most potent ways of connecting with the truth of who we are and the reality of our lives.
You might be feeling oppressed in some way, loaded with tension or sluggishness here and there throughout your body. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, and it is definitely not incurable. Most likely, you are emotionally cluttered. If you’re feeling wary, clumsy, irritable, sick or fatigued, it is time for you to do some emotional spring cleaning. Which of these three types of emotional clutter can you relate to?
1. Unacknowledged or repressed emotions.
This was one of the biggest sources of inner baggage I’ve found within myself and observed in others as well. Putting off dealing with our emotions is one of the main causes of mental, physical and soulful sickness. When we fail to acknowledge or experience our emotions, we push them to the back of our minds, leaving them unresolved and festering.
The more we make this practice into a habit, the worse our lives are. Often our relationships suffer greatly, our connection with ourselves withers, and our physical health wanes.
Facing your emotions, feeling them and accepting them for what they are is the best way to heal yourself. It can be difficult at first, especially if we have gotten into the habit of pushing these emotions into the background. However, with determination and persistence you will learn that feeling uncomfortable is just as valuable as feeling comfortable. It reveals to us places we can work on in ourselves.
When we hold on to grudges, we hold on to hatred, bitterness and ill will toward others. Understandably, this not only affects our relationship with the person we hold a grudge against, but it affects our long-term physiological and psychological health. Grudges weigh our minds and bodies down.
Ask yourself, “Who do I feel bitterness, anger, or resentment toward?” You could have one person in mind or many, but each grudge will vary in its intensity. The truth about grudges is that they are held against people who we perceive have wronged us in some way. Grudges give us a self-righteous sense of satisfaction that we are good, better or right and the other person is bad, worse or wrong in comparison to us.
We hold grudges out of weakness, not strength. Grudges involve the inability to forgive others. Forgiveness takes a lot of strength.
Grudges also stem from our inability to develop understanding for others. They are a result of taking another person’s behavior or words personally, and not seeing into the deeper implications of a person’s actions, such as low self-esteem, depression, pent-up anger, bias, assumptions, and mistaken beliefs. Looking beyond the superficial veneer of a person’s words or actions and into what motivated them is a good way of developing forgiveness and moving past grudge holding.
Projection is basically our tendency to project our feelings, thoughts and beliefs onto other people. So for instance, if I was to get angry at another person for being narrow-minded, this can unconsciously reflect my belief that I am narrow-minded. Another example is disliking a person because you feel they have a personal vendetta against you, when in fact you have a personal vendetta against yourself in the form of self-hatred.
Projection is another form of avoidance and denial. It weighs us down because it fills us up with false beliefs and assumptions about others and contributes to our avoidance of our uncomfortable imperfections.
We project onto other people to avoid thoughts and emotions within ourselves which we perceive as too indecent, embarrassing, risky or shameful. A major part of healing from projection involves the practice of unconditional acceptance. When you work to accept that you are not perfect and this is completely normal, then projection becomes less of an issue for you.
Brain activity image available from Shutterstock